Duane Bonifer  |  Published September 06, 2018

‘An Amazing Person’

Nancy St. Ledger celebrated for 45 years of service to the College.

Nancy St. Ledger, fourth from left, is flanked by faculty she serves in the College's Center for ... Nancy St. Ledger, fourth from left, is flanked by faculty she serves in the College's Center for Science and Business. St. Ledger began working at Monmouth on Sept. 6, 1973.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Nancy St. Ledger didn’t expect to receive a permanent position when she was hired in 1973 to be a part-time secretary for Monmouth College’s chief fundraiser.

But 45 years to the day after she started work at the College on Sept. 6, 1973, the Monmouth native was celebrated and congratulated by her colleagues for her service to faculty and students.

“I just came for an interview,” said St. Ledger. “I was looking for a part-time job.”

St. Ledger moved to the College’s education department after working six months in development for Glen Rankin. She then was a secretary for the mathematics and religious studies departments and occasionally helped out in the president’s office during summers.

For the last 33 years, St. Ledger has served faculty and students as an academic secretary in the College’s mathematics and science departments.

“I enjoy working with faculty; they are great and so are the students,” said St. Ledger. “I just enjoy the academic environment. I’m not a businessperson at heart – I enjoy the academic aspects of the College.”

Two science centers

St. Ledger served the College’s mathematics and sciences professors first in Wallace Hall, then in Haldeman-Thiessen Science Center and now in the Center for Science and Business, which she saw open in 2013.

“I was very excited when we moved into the Center for Science and Business,” said St. Ledger. “I was ready to retire, but I thought, ‘Maybe I’d like to work here for a year.’ And now it’s been more than four. This building is exciting. When I walked in here the first time, I remember going, ‘Wow.’”

Another reason St. Ledger said she decided to continue working at the College is “because I enjoy getting out every day, coming to campus and seeing the faculty and the students.

“Being part of the College has really been an exciting opportunity for me.”

“Keep the copier running, keep the faculty happy and keep the students happy,” she said. “The secret is also smiling and saying, ‘Sure, I’ll help out’ whenever you can.”
– Nancy St. Ledger

St. Ledger, who grew up in Monmouth, graduated from Western Illinois University, where she studied English. Her father, the late Frances Earl Burke, attended Monmouth, and her brother, Keith Burke, is a 1954 Monmouth graduate.

Long service to the College is not uncommon in St. Ledger’s house. Her husband, Dean, is one of five employees to have served the College for 50 years, working in facilities and theatre before retiring. Two children – Aileen and Raymond – graduated from the College in 1985.

‘An amazing person’

Computer science emeritus professor Marta Tucker, who worked with St. Ledger during 33 of her 35 years as a full-time faculty member, said her colleague is “an amazing person.”

“Not only is she an extremely good secretary that will do anything we ask her to do and always do it quite well, but she’s a good friend, she’s a good listener, she brings goodies to us every few days and keeps us all well-fed,” Tucker said. “She’s just a great person to know.”

St. Ledger said the key to being a valuable staff member at the College is simple.

“Keep the copier running, keep the faculty happy and keep the students happy,” she said. “The secret is also smiling and saying, ‘Sure, I’ll help out’ whenever you can.”

St. Ledger has overseen student workers during her tenure, and she is often a confidant, adviser and mentor to many of her students.

“Nancy’s always available to students, and sometimes she is the students’ go-to person for supplies, schedules and learning where rooms are,” Tucker said. “Students know her well and always feel welcome in her office.”

Outside of Monmouth, St. Ledger maintains a busy life that includes teaching piano, keeping up with the long-running science-fiction television show Doctor Who and reading.

“This is one of those exciting times to be at the College. Everyone is excited about the changes and the new majors,” said St. Ledger. “There are so many wonderful memories over the years, so it’s really difficult to pick just one highlight, but this day of my 45-year anniversary would be one of them.”

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